Welcome to All Things Indian. Every Saturday, I unpack the complexities of contemporary India. Each post is a short piece of fiction based on real people I have seen, heard of and met during my reporting. To get it in your inbox every week, sign up here.
The stone bench this January evening, seems a lot colder than last year. Or perhaps a year ago, the heat in the air kept me from noticing the chill. The sun had set three hours ago around 4 ‘o’ clock, our campus heated up around 7.
Those couple of hours on January 5, stretched to span almost an entire year.
The events that unfolded that evening transformed me into a person I never thought I would become; they made me a woman my parents feared I’d turn into if they sent me to study at Jawaharlal Nehru University. But, their fears were trumped by practicality - I was getting to study in a “top class” institution where the fees was affordable even to my father whose four-person establishment catered food in weddings in the city of Bilaspur. Not the fancy-shancy ones costing crores of rupees, but the ones where families empty-out all their savings to ensure a hundreds of people are fed modestly for three successive days.